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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Judge Sentences Washington County Man To 20 Years In Prison For Child Exploitation Offenses

PITTSBURGH – A Washington County man has been sentenced in federal court to 20 years imprisonment on his conviction of receipt and distribution of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence on David Luke Cunningham, 42.

According to information presented to the court, Cunningham was detected sharing videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children by the Pennsylvania State Police in an undercover online investigation of peer-to-peer networks in May and June 2007. More than 50 videos, including sadomasochistic images and violent sexual assault of children appearing as young as two years of age, were later recovered from Cunningham's computer following a search warrant. Evidence presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song at sentencing revealed that at the time of the investigation in 2007, Cunningham was on probation for a sexual offense involving a 4-year- old child in Washington County.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Bissoon emphasized that the defendant’s “actions speak louder than words,” noting that despite denials of a sexual interest in children, the defendant’s criminal conduct formed the basis for his state and federal convictions for sexual crimes against children.

Assistant United States Attorneys Soo C. Song and Jessica Leiber Smolar prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Pennsylvania State Police, together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Cunningham.

Updated July 14, 2015